By Antonis Stroggylakis / firstname.lastname@example.org
Boston Celtics center Vincent Poirier said that if he was presented with a dilemma between winning a gold medal in the Olympics with France or the NBA championship, then he’d go with the former.
“I take the Olympic title,” Poirier said in an interview with Konbini Sports when asked to choose between the two. “French Olympic champions are rare. If I’m one of the 12 players who win the gold at the Olympics, I will be a legend.”
Poirier, a bronze medalist with France in the 2019 World Cup, is probably right. The French basketball team has won just two medals in the Olympic Games: The silver in 1948 and 2000, losing to Team USA both times.
Team USA has claimed every Olympic tournament this century, save from 2004 (they finished bronze after a semifinal loss to Argentina that went on to capture the gold). They are widely considered to be the de-factor favorites and near-unbeatable against any opponent, especially when they are at full strength.
The usually star-laden American team may not be that strong next summer though.
With the upcoming NBA season scheduled to begin no earlier than January and no planned pause for the Olympics, many players – and especially blockbuster names – will inevitably miss the tournament in Tokyo. It’s a frustrating prospect to those who want to represent their countries at the great Olympic stage and this list of players includes Poirier.
“I never played in the Olympics and I’d love to participate. I’m quite stressed. I’m going to be 27 so in the next Games I’ll be 31. We don’t know how it’s going to go but I think everyone wants to go.
“If the NBA players aren’t there, we won’t have the Olympics as we are used to seeing them, without the whole Team USA.”